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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 250 and I left Newnan, GA on Saturday and got here late last night/this morning (Christmas Eve). I don't have much to show for it because the weather ruined my iPhone, but I have a new nemesis:

The cattle-guards of Benson, AZ.

I've never seen or heard of one before so even a sign like this wouldn't have helped. A sign specifically warning motorcycles would be better. In Newnan, GA, I've seen temporary signs like "Grooved pavement ahead" with a second sign saying "Motorcycles use caution." In some other state on the way here there were signs warning about uneven lanes and telling motorcycles to stay in the right lane. Is a cow/car worth a motorcyclist's life?

Basically, I had to stop on that very one because, well, there's a stop sign and there were cars in front of me. I couldn't find a place to put my wet foot because it kept slipping between the bars (exactly how it deters cows) and I almost went down from that alone but that's not the REAL problem. When it was my turn to go, I tried to move but my tire was spinning as it was suspended by two of the bars. Now, because the bars go left and right, the tire doesn't just spin in place... the whole bike goes sideways and tries to dump you off! It took several tries and I was nearly run over by other traffic coming off the ramp. A Border Patrol officer sat in his car and likely saw the whole thing. When I left, I had to go up the ramp on the other side and hit another cattle guard. Not only was I prepared, but I had just asked the border patrol officer to pass on my complaint to the local authorities only a few feet away. I pointed at it while parked for God's sake and I STILL couldn't prevent what happened: I turned, stopped, straightened, and went across as straight as I could and my tire STILL went out from under me as I crossed. I had just enough speed to make it across anyway and prevent a fall using my foot.

I looked online for official procedures for motorcyclist encountering them and none mention the danger of being stuck stopped on a wet one... they just tell you to slow down and go over as straight as possible. What about telling people not to stop on one or what can happen when wet (not simply "they can be treacherous, especially when wet")? First of all, they should be textured for friction. SECOND of all, they should all have signs. THIRD, those signs should also mention danger to motorcyclists (not everyone knows what a cattle guard is). FOURTH, they should never, EVER be placed at a stop sign. AND, if it's not too much to ask, something to place your foot on so you wont fall in like a helpless cow.

I'm WAY too sore to write anything else about the trip at the moment, but I'll try to see if I can get my phone fixed and get my bike serviced (it's idling rough) then I'll get back to you guys.

Edit: Adding ride report more than a month later. ;)
Ride report part 1 (Days 1-3)
Ride report part 2 (Day 4)
 

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Never thought about this (we don't have them in PA :)), but I do remember them from my road trip out to CA. In a car they are annoying, but I see how on a bike they could be dangerous.

Good to see you made it ok.
 

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yea cattle gaurd crossings r a bitch in AZ i have been over them b4 when traveling through AZ props 2 U on a bike LoL that Sucks:eek:
 

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I so know how you feel.......

There are several around the state like that, especially where the highways meet the indian reservations (ie....Sacaton). I actually started to stop behind them and wait till it was clear to proceed so I would have momentum going forward (intended direction) to make it easier to cross them in the wet. But I've never tried on a 250 with the thin rear tire - it must've been an absolutely draumatic. GLAD to know you made it safley thou and didn't get injured.

Hope your Christmas was fantastic. (Sad to hear your dissaproval of Arizona - LOL)
 

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I had no idea what Cattle Guards were until I read this....

Thanks for the heads up! Hopefully you'll write a ride report when you're all rested. Atlanta to San Diego sounds like an awesome ride!
 

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I guess I have never had a problem with them, dry or wet. If I remember right, I go over them fast.....I just don't even give them consideration, I treat them like train tracks, I never stop on them and always approach them straight on and go over them faster then you would think.
 

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Thanks for sharing your story, glad you didn't get your foot down in there and tip over. Did the Grooved pavement or uneven lanes cause any trouble with the 250 thin tires?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
...Sad to hear your dissaproval of Arizona - LOL
Not at all! Granted, the weather was bad and the cattle guards / iPhone damage put me in a bad mood, but AZ was great. I stopped at a truck stop to get directions to the closest AT&T store, chatted with other bikers as crazy as me to be out there in such bad weather, explored Tuscon, and talked to many friendly people willing to help (had to make a few phone calls). I just wish I hadn't run out of daylight to enjoy the scenery as the weather improved... it was getting late when I passed through Yuma but I still had a nice conversation about my bike with a homeless man who had lost his wheels six months ago. No, he didn't ask me for money, though I would have helped if I had any myself!

My previous experience with AZ was just a 2hr stop between flights at the airport in Phoenix (1998). Two terminals and a window view of the street... that was it.

I had no idea what Cattle Guards were until I read this....

Thanks for the heads up! Hopefully you'll write a ride report when you're all rested. Atlanta to San Diego sounds like an awesome ride!
I'd have a lot more to say about it if it weren't for the short winter days cut even shorter by the need to wait for warmth in the morning. A good bit of the ride was done at night where I couldn't see more than the road immediately ahead. :(

I guess I have never had a problem with them, dry or wet. If I remember right, I go over them fast.....I just don't even give them consideration, I treat them like train tracks, I never stop on them and always approach them straight on and go over them faster then you would think.
Thanks. Now, if only I knew ahead of time! :D It still scares me that I tried to do just that on my second encounter and still neared disaster. Because I was turning, I could only hit it "as straight as possible" but I had hoped that my speed would count for something.

Thanks for sharing your story, glad you didn't get your foot down in there and tip over. Did the Grooved pavement or uneven lanes cause any trouble with the 250 thin tires?
Grooved pavement has been fine but I am constantly expecting a tank slapper and I act accordingly and try to manually dampen vibrations and feedback through my handlebars. The uneven lanes I encountered were fine because I obeyed the signs and stayed in my lane, but I haven't always been so lucky.

In GA, I worked 12hr security shifts and the road outside (HWY 74 in Peachtree City) was under heavy construction (still visible on Google Street View). The situation would be completely different when I'd leave the next day (well, after midnight) than when I had arrived the previous morning! Once, years earlier in my car, I ended up pulling out into a dark single-lane road and ending up face-to-face with an escort vehicle with a line of traffic behind him! Wasn't single-lane that morning and there was nothing blocking my exit/entrance or indicating such, so how could I have known? Anyway, this time, there was a ledge of several inches between the newly paved lane and the one that was about to be paved, so I didn't dare ride up it to change lanes unless I was coming at it perpendicularly. Instead, I drove along in my lane beside it until the freshly paved ridge suddenly angled to cover my lane too. I couldn't see if coming at night, so it ended up kinda "pushing" my bike onto the shoulder as my tire would try to ride up it and then pitch away. I made a turn I otherwise would not have made and got back on the fully-repaved road ahead. I was actually getting something to eat before heading back to my home in Newnan, so I took a back road home that luckily avoided it, which isn't always possible (PTC has only one road in from the west toward Newnan... HWY 54).
 

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Man I remember riding my 600RR in Atlanta and every road is Peach-something or other.
Seems like you've had your fare share of bad-road conditions.
 

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If i remember correctly here in Australia we have square grate bars rather then the round ones. It makes it easier to cross as its a bit more grippy, but still, difficult. :p

Troz
 

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We have those grates here in CA too. REALLY EXCITING when you're coming around a corner out in the twisties and you have to get it upright VERY QUICKLY, otherwise you're going off the mountain.
 

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We have those grates here in CA too. REALLY EXCITING when you're coming around a corner out in the twisties and you have to get it upright VERY QUICKLY, otherwise you're going off the mountain.
I think I've only seen a couple in San Diego, out on the 79 there are two of them, but both are in a straight away. anyways we should hit up the 78 and or the 79 sometime. shoot me a PM if interested.
 

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im not sure what the purpose of the cattle guards are. i live in NC and we have a good bit of cattle, but i've never seen any provisions in the road. but this is what im confused on, if a cow got loose, would he just walk down the street? i mean wouldn't he be off the side of the road eating grass like a normal cow? couldn't he just walk right by the cattle guard? but i guess i kinda understand if they have stopped one cow from walking out in the street and getting hit and killing a person then they are all worth it.
 

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you ever ridden dirt? Cattleguards don't scare me much :dunno:

I actually like to see them when off-road because if they have a bit of a lip they make for excellent jumps. :D

Just stand on the pegs and ride right over them. 99.99% of them are harmless. Specially if they are on pavement.

Would like to hear more about your trip.
 

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im not sure what the purpose of the cattle guards are. i live in NC and we have a good bit of cattle, but i've never seen any provisions in the road. but this is what im confused on, if a cow got loose, would he just walk down the street? i mean wouldn't he be off the side of the road eating grass like a normal cow? couldn't he just walk right by the cattle guard? but i guess i kinda understand if they have stopped one cow from walking out in the street and getting hit and killing a person then they are all worth it.
out west a lot of the land is free range or public land so cattle are not necessary on private fenced land to graze the guards are to keep them somewhat contained
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
OK, I've got a couple of questions now that I'm in San Diego:

Where should I get my bike cleaned? It is still covered with an unbelievable amount of road grime from the trip and someone already wrote "Hell" on my windscreen (ran out of room for the "o" I hope ;)). I would have paid for a mobile detail except that one of the first things I did after arriving was forget that I was using the bike lock and cracked the fairing (I'm not used to using it and didn't see that it was running through my wheel/handlebars). I would feel silly getting a bike detailed with a crack on the fairing, though I can probably pop it back down and paint over it some time after I get a touch-up pen and the bike washed.

What are the legal rules for lane-splitting? It's illegal where I come from, so I need to know. I feel uncomfortable doing it, so I usually just watch the others zip by.

How should I go about registering it in CA? I'm a little over 6K miles but I'm afraid that I'll get red-flagged and prevented from registering a 49-state vehicle if I ask questions around here (I've heard about it happening). I see "Auto Registration" buildings all over the place and they look like private-run businesses. Does CA deregulate government offices or something?

Man I remember riding my 600RR in Atlanta and every road is Peach-something or other.
Seems like you've had your fare share of bad-road conditions.
Yup. I worked in PEACHtree City. ;)

We have those grates here in CA too. REALLY EXCITING when you're coming around a corner out in the twisties and you have to get it upright VERY QUICKLY, otherwise you're going off the mountain.
I'll be keeping my eyes open. :eek:

im not sure what the purpose of the cattle guards are. i live in NC and we have a good bit of cattle, but i've never seen any provisions in the road. but this is what im confused on, if a cow got loose, would he just walk down the street? i mean wouldn't he be off the side of the road eating grass like a normal cow? couldn't he just walk right by the cattle guard? but i guess i kinda understand if they have stopped one cow from walking out in the street and getting hit and killing a person then they are all worth it.
The ones I encountered were specifically to keep cows from going up Interstate ramps, so there wasn't much of interest to a cow on either side. I see that some intend to keep sheep from passing, but we've all seen plenty of pictures of mountain rams perched on precarious footing and I find it hard to imagine that a similar device could contain them... even if it were made of rope!

IMO, the colliding masses of car & cow are probably less dangerous to the driver than a wet cattle guard is to an unsuspecting motorcyclist, but it seems that mostly desert states have them and they'd probably count such deaths as "flukes that shouldn't be factored in to the deciding statistics." Regardless, cows and cars are expensive, so that scenario gets their full attention.

you ever ridden dirt? Cattleguards don't scare me much :dunno:

I actually like to see them when off-road because if they have a bit of a lip they make for excellent jumps. :D

Just stand on the pegs and ride right over them. 99.99% of them are harmless. Specially if they are on pavement.

Would like to hear more about your trip.
I'm sure knobby tires wouldn't have a problem wet or dry, but an Interstate exit with a stop sign is not the place to put them considering that people will be encountering them for the first time on bikes that are not equipped to handle it. Also, is that 99.99% figure talking about them whenwet or dry? :D

I'd love to try hitting the dunes but I can't afford a dedicated off-roader and even dual-purpose bikes are more expensive (compare Ninja 250R to KLX 250S)... no doubt, the suspension and exhaust (compact, high up, protected) differences add up.
 

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On the note of lane-splitting don't do what makes you feel uncomfortable. But your not suppose to travel more than 5mph faster than the vehicles your "splitting"

If you need to get used to riding in tight spaces, pratice riding on the sidewalk and start off "splitting" at stoplights to get to the front of traffic. Then during heavy stop&go traffic - your less ;ikel;y to have a serious injury in these circumstances. Splitting lanes can become addictive so just cautious. (You seem to have your head on straight)

Go ahead and do the mobile detail if your not gonna clean the bike yourself. (Don't worry about the cracked fairing, get that grime off) Take your bike in to transfer the registration over, you should be exempt because it's a newer vehicle, but if anything I almost guarentee you'll pass emissions if required to go. If you really need you can register your bike here in AZ or keep the registration in GA and just make sure to update your license.

- Cheers
 

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Registering:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/checklists/outofstate.htm

There are no emissions checks on MCs in CA.

Lane splitting - CHP says

Can motorcycle riders "split" lanes and ride between other vehicles?
Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner.


Safe and prudent as defined by the individual officer. As long as you don't ride like an asshat doing wheelies and going wicked fast most cops will leave you alone. Back when there was a "speed limit" on splitting it was no more than 10 - 15 MPH faster than the cars, not 5.

Get used to driving in CA traffic before you start splitting. Start light with filtering at lights and move up from there. Keep your levers covered. Rinse and repeat.
 
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